From an early age, I’ve felt like an “old soul.” I knew I wanted to have a family pretty early in life, and with that I dreamed of decorating a home. And I mean this happened when I was REALLY young. I can remember vividly being in first grade and using my free time to sketch my home. Now, this sketch looked something like a house cut in half (much like a little girl’s dollhouse for her toys). I then would fill each room with furniture, create beds with patterns, and usually have a printed wallpaper or border to complete the room. While other kids were tracing their hands, I remember feeling like somewhat of an outcast when I was drawing your basic house plan. When I came across an article a couple weeks ago by Traditional Home, I finally put a name to many of these traits I carry. I quickly realized I was a “Grandmillennial.” You may find after reading this article that you are, too!
Fast forward to middle school when I was an avid cross-stitcher, piano player and choir singer, enjoying musicals on my weekends (my cousin Jessie can vouch for this, give us ALL the Rogers and Hammerstein’s, Oklahoma, The Sound of Music, South Pacific and so on. There was also never a Christmas that went by that I didn’t make time to watch White Christmas with my Granny. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite things to do on the weekends growing up would be to have a sleepover with her. We would create tablescapes, cook a meal, and enjoy the meal to candlelight. I carried on many of these traditions, even in college, when I asked her to teach me to knit! I’ll never forget my boyfriend at the time laughing a little at me (but in reality, he thought it was charming – I think?).
I’ve never quite been able to put a name or label on who I am. I just know that in my life I’ve enjoyed exploring décor and gifts that are lasting. Not on-trend (unless it’s the latest Amazon haul by some of my favorite bloggers – SIGN ME UP!), but things that tell a story… A story about me or a story about those that came before me. When you come into my home you’ll see my not-so-minimalistic approach to decorating. My kitchen isn’t stark white with marble, but quite the opposite and filled with knick-knacks. Most might see it as clutter, but when I glance at my grandmother’s porcelain elephant that sits in the windowsill by my kitchen sink, my heart warms, and I know that’s far from clutter. My greenery isn’t a living, breathing fig tree placed in a basket – but rather a faux boxwood topiary that is complete with a colored bow fit for the season. Every direction you turn, there’s something on a wall or shelf, but that something has meaning. Hand painted pumpkins for Presley and Lottie, ornaments, engraved mint julep cups, framed art from our travels or a set of Staffordshire dogs (I purchased my first set at the ripe age of 25, and it felt like a badge-of-honor-type of moment) might be sitting there. They tell a little bit about who I am, and create my own unique space that I like to call home.
A lot of my style can be attributed to my mother. I still have monogrammed linens, collars and hand-painted porcelain she decorated my room with as a child. My childhood room was complete with white eyelet bedding, coordinating balloon shades and a floral bow border around my room. She raised me in a perfectly tidy home. Never much was out of place, and there was A LOT that could have been. Few friends have come into my family home and left without saying how they can’t believe how much “stuff” my mother has, but also how cozy and at home it made them feel. Each season that rolled around, new décor was tucked in with what stayed out year-round, and a banner might say “Happy Fall” over our cozy fireplace. As we’ve gotten older, she has started giving us some of her treasures, and I absolutely love her telling me the story behind them. We have this one life to live, and although I enjoy HomeGoods shopping and Ballard Designs, it’s also important to me to fill my home with heirlooms that I can eventually pass down to my daughters.
Even in my adulthood, I’ve continued fostering this “Grandmillennial” way of living. When I began considering names for my children, unless it was a family name (and I mean first AND middle), it wasn’t even considered. The first valance I purchased for my first kitchen was, of course, toile. I was intrigued by my heritage and English history, driving my love and eventual purchase of our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Maggie, in 2008. My friend, Ann Read, encouraged me to try needlepoint in 2016. She had beautiful coasters sitting in her living room, and I had asked where she got them. When she said she made them, I was sold. I went to the nearest needlepoint store, Cabbage Row, on King Street in Charleston, South Carolina, where I received my first lesson from store owner, Madonna. Although it’s something that takes time, needlepoint is soothing, and I love knowing I’m creating projects that last a lifetime. I treasure the stockings that were needlepointed by my grandmother, Betty Presley Thompson. I hope one day my mother will give me more of her needlepoint treasures.
If I’m really living true to who I am, you’ll find me designing the latest monogram, and applying it to my favorite hand towel or napkin. You’ll find me brainstorming what floral fabric would look best against our existing buffalo check. You’ll find me in my monogrammed gingham jammies curled up in bed with my needlepoint, my latest project being a belt for David. I might even be scouring Instagram and Pinterest, not for the latest news on the Kardashians or what they’re wearing, but for the latest Thibaut wallpaper that showed up in a powder room post on The Glam Pad. Trying to decide which Chippendale planter to purchase, as featured on The Enchanted Home. Trying to figure out how I can use the Brunschwig & Fils “Gillian’s Zebra” fabric in Lottie’s room, and so on. With this being said, can I please give a shout-out to my husband David for graciously letting me pursue my decorating ventures – all in due time of course. He constantly tells me, “Rome wasn’t built in a day, Mary.” When I excitedly agreed to join the Modern Southern Mother team, I wasn’t sure how I would fit into the modern aspect. I find myself living in modern times, but clinging to traditional ways of life. Honestly getting mad that I have to be tied to my cell phone by responding to what is necessary. Wishing that I sometimes lived in simpler times, where creativity flourished because people were NOT distracted by technology. If you resonate with the more traditional and timeless side of life, then you’re likely a Grandmillennial as well! I’ve linked below the article test for you! Enjoy and happy monogramming!
New York Post Article
This makes me so proud. You are incredibly creative, very smart and totally authentic (like your Mom). I am proud to be your Ole Man and I love you with all my ❤️.
Happy Valentines Day,
PS: stay after it and you will hit a home run.
Mary Graf says
Thank you, Dad! Love that you’ve already “stopped by” JDL! Love you so much, and thanks for always being an example of hard work and perseverance for me!